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Ten To Defend: Dan Mullen

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With five days left until Western Kentucky gets in the way of Florida's celebration of the 2007 title, Alligator Army presents `Ten To Defend'. We all know it won't just be Urban, Percy, and Timmy The Rhino rebuilding this team. So, who's going to help them out? So far we've profiled Charlie Strong, Cornelius Ingram, Kestahn Moore, and Bubba Caldwell. Now it's offensive coordinator Dan Mullen.

As well as looking dapper in a brown suit (very hard to pull off) Dan Mullen is one of the brightest minds in college football today. In the brilliantly called BCS title game, Mullen called two bad plays, both of which were draws.

Note: all stats from

But running the ball was a strength for the Gators last year, despite the lack of a true number one RB. Averaging 4.7 yards a carry, UF was third in the SEC behind the LSU track squad and the Fightin' Darren McFaddens. That ability to run and control the clock put UF second in the SEC in time of possession and first in first downs.

In SEC play, UF scored 22.2 points a game and 29.7 overall, both very good numbers. And with the Gators fifth in passing offense, their total offense was 6.3 yards per game, only behind LSU in the SEC.

But, there is a big concern that I never had until I started researching this article. In the SEC, UF was EIGHTH in red zone offense. In 53 attempts, the Gators scored 39 times, with 35 TDs, for a 73.6% points rate. There were five missed FGs, and two `others' which I assume would be running out the clock at the end of the game. Two were on downs (again, likely kneel downs), three on INTs, and two more on fumbles.

There should be no reason why this team is below 80%. I understand that Mullen can't control the kicker and had no sway on the Leak fumble/incomplete pass at Auburn. But, if a criticism can be made about a team that went 13-1 and won a national title, it would be play calling inside the 20.

Other than the few times an I-formation would make an appearance, there was no short yardage play that the Gators would run. Mullen, it seems, is over thinking these situations, calling for a Tebow jump pass and play action on third down. Just run over some people! Put in a few blocking tight ends! The Leak in Auburn play? That was third and three on Auburn's six yard line!

Mullen is a bright guy, but now he has to realize that we have to get points anyway possible. Option, fullback dive, fade route, I don't care. But, you cannot sacrifice 90 years of football that tell you to pound the middle, for the last 5 years of football that say put five wides in on third and goal from the seven.